New Secretary of State
As most of you will know by now, 71 year-old Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, presently Archbishop of Genoa, will replace Cardinal Sodano (who will be 79) as Secretary of State in September. He is a Salesian and a theologian rather than a diplomat, having been Secretary to Ratzinger at the CDF.
Various news agencies have called him 'hardline,' partly because of his recent condemnation of The Da Vinci Code (anyone remember that book?) as 'a sackful of heretical lies.' The Times (which should know better) said that, according to some, 'putting a Ratzinger-Bertone alliance at the top of the Vatican hierarchy meant that the Church would be in the hands of "arch-conservatives" at a time when many Catholics, especially in the Third World, are calling for reform.' Hmmm.
The Holy Father has long experience of working with his new no.2 and it will be interesting how the 'Ratzinger-Bertone alliance' bears fruit after the Sodano era. Despite his age, Bertone will instantly be raised in league tables of papabile. He is an attractive figure with evident humanity. A keen Juventus fan, he is the first ever Secretary of State to have acted as a football commentator (on Genoese TV).
Once, while speaking on human cloning, Bertone added: 'an exception might be made in the case of Sophia Loren.'